In spite of the oil, agriculture remains the base of the Nigerian economy, providing the main source of livelihood for most Nigerians. A large percentage of Nigerian stable food, (ie) Yam, Beef, Rice, Bean, Tomatoes, groundnut, and Grains are produced in Northern Nigeria.
Most Southern States in Nigeria have long abandoned agriculture, and instead have shifted their emphasis to expanding university education and the reproduction of university degrees in areas such as Library science and social workers, despite the obvious fact these types of degrees are of no value to the economy.
While many Southerners are quick to point to Oil as the Nigerian’s main source of revenue, they often underestimate the obvious fact that without the North, Southern Nigerians will starve.
Nigeria is the continent’s leading consumer of rice, one of the largest producers of rice in Africa and simultaneously one of the largest rice importers in the world. Rice generates more income for Nigerian farmers than any other cash crop in the country. In 2008, Nigeria produced approximately 2 million MT of milled rice and imported roughly 3 million metric tons, including the estimated 800,000 metric tons that are suspected to enter the country illegally on an annual basis.
Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world, with about 50 million metric tons annually from a cultivated area of about 3.7 million ha. Nigeria accounts for cassava production of up to 20 percent of the world, about 34 percent of Africa’s and about 46 percent of West Africa.
Nigeria is the world’s largest cassava producer and Africa’s largest rice importer. The government and private sector, therefore, need to join efforts to develop ways to enhance cassava’s competitiveness in the international market and improve the efficiency of domestic rice production and processing.
The Nigeria fisheries sub-sector contributes about 3-4 percent to the country’s annual GDP and is an important contributor to the population’s nutritional requirements, constituting about 50 percent of animal protein intake. Livestock development is an important component of Nigeria agriculture with abundant social and economic potentials. About 60 percent of the ruminant livestock population is found in the country’s semi-arid zone and mostly managed by pastoralists.
Is time for the Southern States in Nigerian to introduce government-private farming ventures in order to accelerate new farming initiates. After all, most Southern States have the most fertile farmland in Nation. To abandon the most vital sector of any economy is nothing other than a blatant act of ignorance.
Afro World News: Osayande Aghaze. US-Expert on Global Policy matters, and Human Rights.